If you ever get a craving for chocolate chip cookie dough or chocolate chip cookies, but try to stick to healthy diet, these Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are for you. Not that these bars require any description, but I’ll give you one anyway.
Packed with dates, almonds, pecans, and chocolate chips, these Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars have a chewy texture and a pretty identical flavor to the traditional cookie dough. They are perfectly sweet, buttery, and chocolaty all at the same time. They get hard and almost crunchy in the fridge and you can make them in only 10 minutes – so much faster than any cookies you’ve ever made!
Just like any other raw dessert, these cookie bars are almost like an enigma. How can something made from nuts and dried fruit taste so delicious? I don’t know many people – no, actually, I don’t know anyone – who doesn’t like these Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. They are perfect for when you’re in the mood for something sweet but don’t want to inhale an entire batch of cookies.
Be careful though. While raw desserts do use raw unrefined sweeteners, sugar is still sugar. Dates are about as close as you can get to sugar and still call it a fruit. The fact that these bars are sweetened only with fruit doesn’t mean you can eat all of them in one sitting. If one of these bars satisfies your urge for a candy or baked sweets, that’s an awesome upgrade. But if these bars become your breakfast, it might be a problem.
Tips for Making Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
While you can use pretty much any combination of nuts in this recipe, I highly recommend using a combo of almonds and pecans because they compliment the dates perfectly. While almonds are neutral in flavor and crunchy in texture, pecans have a pleasantly sweet, rich, buttery flavor with a soft texture. Mix the two together and you get the best of both worlds.
If you wanna take these bars to another level, add a pinch of sea salt. There’s actually a scientific explanation as to why salted chocolate tastes so amazing. Salt is essential to open up flavors in sweet dishes and enhance your body’s ability to taste sweetness. When sodium is present, sensors located in our intestines and on our tongue that normally don’t alert to sugar process glucose as sweet. If you’re worried about your cookie bars tasting salty, don’t be. You would only taste the salt if you added too much or the dough wasn’t mixed well.
I also find that lemon juice lightens up the cookie bars and balances out their sweetness really well. A few drops of lemon juice can do wonders in the background.
If your dough isn’t sticking together, use wet hands to shape the dough or add 1 tsp. (5 ml) of water to the dough at a time until it does. I didn’t need to use any additional water, but if your dates are on the drier side, you might need a bit of water to help all the ingredients stick together.
If you’re planning on cutting the dough into bars, refrigerate it first. The dough will hold its shape better and you’ll end up with perfectly straight, smooth bars. This step isn’t necessary if you’re rolling the dough into balls.
Tools You’ll Need
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Pulse the dates, almonds, pecans, and salt in a food processor until the pieces are uniform and the dough sticks together when you pinch it in between your fingers. Then mix in the vanilla and chocolate chips
Spread the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and shape it into your desired shape. I used an 8" x 8" (20 cm x 20 cm) glass dish and shaped the dough into a 6" x 6" (15 cm x 15 cm) square.
Refrigerate the dough until firm, 20-30 minutes. Cut the cookie dough into bars or bite-size pieces. You can also roll the dough into balls (in which case you don't have to refrigerate the dough).
Store leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container for 1-2 months.